Participants in a rally Sunday at Spirit Square to bring awareness to climate change start a march down Shoppers Row. The event was held in tandem with other communities across the world on the eve of the Paris climate talks taking place this week.

Riverites speak out against climate change

Campbell River added its voice to the rallying cry against global climate change on Sunday

Campbell River added its voice to the rallying cry against global climate change on Sunday.

It was the day before 195 countries from around the world sat down to discuss how to combat global warming.

Around 150 people descended on Spirit Square Sunday to take part in a People’s Climate March, which was hosted by the Council of Canadians and the Quadra Island chapter of the Sierra Club.

The rally was held in conjunction with other similar events in cities and towns around the world, on the eve of the historic United Nations conference on climate change taking place in Paris.

The meeting, known as the 21st Conference of Parties, is bringing together more than 100 heads of government in an effort to draft an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down the effects of climate change.

Participants in Campbell River’s rally Sunday showed up in force, complete with signs, placards and costumes such as a big purple whale, to celebrate the conference and urge governments to take action.

The event opened with a prayer from Darren Blaney, before newly-elected North Island MP Rachel Blaney took the stage.

She relayed a discussion with her son that really hit home the potential dangers of climate change.

“My youngest son said to me, ‘Mom, I was watching a show today that said if we don’t do something about the climate, that for every three breaths of air that we take today, there will only be enough oxygen for us to take two,’” said Blaney, who wants to see industry and environmentalists work in harmony.

“I’m so tired of this conversation about economy or environment,” Blaney said. “We need to be having a conversation where those things work together, where industry can start to look at those opportunities and it can become cleaner and cleaner so that we can have those good paying jobs but that they don’t destroy the very environment we need to live in.”

Acting Mayor Michele Babchuk said even simple things can make a difference and that while climate action is a global movement, it’s also individual.

“Everyone can contribute,” Babchuk said. “The lifestyles we choose make all the difference. We can car pool, recycle, we can ride our bikes to work. When was the last time you rode your bike? Although this is a global climate day, it is also a national climate day, it is a provincial climate day, it is a local climate day and it is an individual climate day.”

The Paris climate talks began on Monday and are expected to wrap up Dec. 11.

The conference comes on the heels of the United Nations’ announcement that 2015 is the hottest year on record, surpassing last year’s record, with 2016 predicted to be even warmer.